Friday, November 15, 2013

UNITED STATES GP 2013

The world championship has been decided, but Formula 1 still has plenty of energy for its second visit to Austin, Texas, which proved a huge hit with teams, drivers and fans last season. Austin is the tenth different venue for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix, but this one is considered a real winner. The new Circuit of the Americas, which runs anti clockwise, is a wonderful mixture of many of the most famous circuits on the F1 calendar; it has more corners at over 250 km/h than Spa and more below 100kph than Hungary, which is quite a combination!

The United States Grand Prix is a motor race which has been run on and off since 1908, when it was known as the American Grand Prize. The race later became part of the Formula One World Championship. Over 42 editions, the race has been held at ten locations, most recently in 2012 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Circuit of the Americas often abbreviated as COTA is a 3.427-mile (5.515 km) motor racing circuit near Austin, Texas. It hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix on November 18, 2012, the penultimate round of the 2012 season. The circuit will also host the Texas Motorcycle Grand Prix, a round of the Road Racing World Championship—commonly known as MotoGP—in addition to the Australian V8 Supercars series, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series, and the Rolex Sports Car Series, all of which will make their debuts at the circuit in 2013.

The circuit and Grand Prix were first proposed in the middle of 2010. The circuit was the first in the United States to be purpose-built for Formula One. The layout was conceived by promoter Tavo Hellmund and 1993 Motorcycle World Champion Kevin Schwantz with the assistance of German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who has also designed the Sepang, Shanghai, Yas Marina, Istanbul, Bahrain, Yeongam, and Buddh circuits, as well as the reprofiling of the Hockenheimring and Fuji Speedway. The Grand Plaza, Observation Structure, Tower Amphitheater, and Main Grandstand were designed by Austin-based architectural firm MirĂ³ Rivera Architects. Spectator capacity was estimated to be 100,000 utilizing permanent and temporary seating facilities but a crowd of 117,429 watched the Formula One race in November 2012.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Track length : 5.516 kilometres
Race distance : 56 laps (308.896 kilometres)
Corners : 20 corners in total
Average speed : 197km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce
Top speed : 315km/h (with DRS open) 305km/h without
Total fuel needed for race distance : 142.8 kilos (ave/high)
Fuel consumption : 2.7kg per lap (ave/high)
Full throttle : 58% of lap
Brake wear : medium/hard
Number of braking events : 8 (At Turn 12 the drivers incur 5.5g in braking)
Time needed for a Pit stop : 21 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.38 seconds (ave/high)

WEATHER FORECAST

The forecast for the weekend is for warm weather, with temperatures in the high 20 degrees C. Thunderstorms are forecast for Saturday – qualifying day.

DRS

There will be two DRS zones at COTA. The detection point of the first will be 150 metres after Turn 10, with the activation point 320m after Turn 11.

The second zone’s detection point will be 65m after Turn 18, with the activation point 80m after Turn 20, just before the start/finish line.


Changes to the circuit since 2012 – Removable kerbs, 50mm high, similar to those used at the apex of Turns Eight and Nine in Abu Dhabi, have been installed at the apex of Turns Three, Four and Five. Similar kerbs, 75mm high, have been placed at the apex of Turns Seven and Nine.

TYRES

Pirelli tyre choice for Austin: Medium (white markings) and Hard (orange markings). This combination was seen in Japan, Belgium and Italy.

Despite aiming for two stops from most races, for this race Pirelli has gone for the two hardest tyres in the range, so it’s likely that the race will be one stop, as it was last year. The temperatures are set to be higher than in 2012, so that may make a difference, if thermal degradation is encountered.

SAFETY CAR

As this is only the second race and there was no Safety car last year, the chance of a safety car has yet to be established.

CONCLUSION

Will I be watching the race? Even though the track is a good track for racing, I won't be watching as the championship is decided and the race is too late here. Hoping for a Hamilton win though and Vettel not to break another record.

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